Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bad Taste

So I’m back with a carpet burn on my left elbow and a head full of questions. I’m knackered now, and maybe that’s why I have a returned with a certain sense of distaste. And then again I think the thoughts that found their form in my head while I stared into the turquoise of the Mediterranean have been brewing for a while. I guess sitting on a bus for hours on end with a bunch of ignorant wrist banded tourists brought it to a head. I don’t have the eloquence of our guide Osman who silenced a bus load of the righteous wrist bands, I just get angry and want to shake people and make them see what I see, but I will try to explain

Part of the wrist band deal is that you can venture out of the safety of the four walls in a nice coach and get a small flavour of Turkey. Our guide certainly tried to do that and more, he talked non-stop for two days and whenever we stopped the bus driver gave me and Lise Turkish lessons. As we passed through a village the guide told us to look out for bottles on the roofs. It meant that the family had a daughter of marriageable age and whichever man shot the bottle down could ask for the daughter’s hand in marriage. The wrist bands were in uproar, how backward they thought. And the women weaving the beautiful silk carpets, oh how that made them sad, these women were being exploited they said. Are they? I asked myself. They are keeping a tradition alive and being paid a comparable Turkish salary for doing so. Who’s more exploited; them or the illegal Chinese women working in the sweatshops in Paris, or the Mexican farm workers in the States? Isn’t it easy to say what’s wrong in another country yet be blind to what is going on in your own? In the two days we spent on that bus I never once heard our guide try to cover up the way his country was. The wealth is in the main cities and the East is agricultural and reaped in tradition; tradition that is sometimes unpalatable to us westerners.

Inevitably the conversation on the bus turned to Turkey’s attempts to enter the EU. Human Rights issues the wrist bands twittered, Algeria I thought, Northern Ireland. The Turkish feel the EU keep moving the goalposts for them, meanwhile letting other countries into their select club. But it’s not really in Europe they riposted. Well it’s either the EU or Turkey turns to the Islamic states, it shares a border with Iran and Iraq. But there haven’t been many bombings in Turkey, the wrist bands gasped. I banged my head against the window. Well the EU need to make a choice, Osman said or Turkey will make its own choice and the benefit of trying to get in the EU is that economically it has developed and is continuing to develop quickly. The wrist bands turned to the question of Islamic fundamentalism. Well, Osman shrugged, the Saddams, the Bin Ladens of this world, they didn’t just drop out of the sky from nowhere. He cut the mike and not another word was said.

Now I’m not saying that I agree with the lack of Women’s Rights in Turkey. There may well be female Prime Minster and head of the Judiciary, but there are a bunch of women up in the mountain villages who still have their marriages arranged, who are not educated or murdered because they dishonour their families. But let’s face it Capitalism is not akin to Human Rights is it?

As BBC World reported 157 killed in suicide bombings in Baghdad I wondered why the US couldn’t see that Iraq and Afghanistan was a complete fuck up, Nicaragua and all the rest and then I realised something. Actually they are not, the countries are broken and in ruins and dependent on the West. Our lives go on, we carry on buying our soya burgers and Ecover washing powder while driving our bigger and better cars and tapping away on our smaller and faster computers and a bit of human loss now and again is neither here nor there because that’s the way Capitalism works. Our bio, green, vegetarian existence is steeped in Capitalism and perpetuates it and I’m left with a slightly bad taste in my mouth.

I’m sorry but 3 hours snatched here and there in the last eighteen and a half hours does not make for a very optimistic Miss V.

7 comments:

Atyllah said...

Bravo! An excellent post and so well said, Verilion!
Ah yes, the old human condition again - fear, ignorance and greed. Hmmm... Those wrist bands and more besides need to cop a load of Aunt Aggie's final thoughts.

The Moon Topples said...

Veriturkey: I read this initially in Bloglines, which for some reason censored out the names of countries. Which made it kind of a weird read.

But well-written, I find when the gaps are plugged and I read it in the original.

Verilion said...

Hey Atyllah, I hope that the HAC is getting better. I'm in a bit of a better mood now that I've had a good few hours with no real interaction with other humans (I don't think the supermarket counts). So now I have to go and start thinking seriously about how to start the revolution...

And hello Moon Topples. A real live visit huh and a comment! So do I have to keep putting country names to get you over here? I'm joking. I was completely shagged when I wrote this last night (well it felt like night, I need my sleep I do) so I'm glad it made sense. In my journal it's all over the place. I might post something a bit more positive later about sitting on the beach all wrapped up, or the stars at 1 am in the morning. And then again I really should go and get my haircut it's bonkers at the mo.

goodthomas said...

Optimism is over-rated. A nice dose of pessimism keeps the questions brewing.

I sure like the lead in, "So I’m back with a carpet burn on my left elbow and a head full of questions." I love the tour you briefly took us on, loved the questions, for all of us.

You have a nice brain there, Ms Verilion.

Verilion said...

Thank you Good Thomas. Yeah, in one draft I think I explained the carpet burn. That was another crazy night spent with bloody wrist banders. I was invited up on stage to belly dance with a MALE belly dancer. This involved kneeling down and bending backwards till your head touched the floor. So I gracefully bent back a little bit then my head crashed to the floor and my elbows were the only thing that rescued me from permanent brain damage, hence the carpet burn.

Sam said...

I love to travel, but I hate to travel with close-minded people. Turkey sounds like a wonderful place, and I love the bottles on the roof. How funny. I'm sure the girls are out giving shooting lessons to their lovers.
I live in the outskirts of Paris, in the Yvelines, and I had a friend from Portugal. When she was 17, she was ordered back home where she was married by force to her family's choice of husband. And Portugal is in the EU, unless I'm mistaken. I liked your post, and will have to come back and visit your blog!

Verilion said...

Hi Sam, thanks for the visit. The guide did tell us about sign language between potential lovers. Please do pop back some time, especially as you are a fellow francilien!

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